With the light of these premises let us try to cut through the dense fog of confusion enveloping Western Civilization – whose original constitutive dimensions originate in Catholicism – which arose in the 1960s due to the antagonistic efforts of many intellectuals, government- programs and mass-media of the post-Western civilization straining to control the nerve-centers of society.
The intellectuals who side with the ideologies of moral and cultural relativism in denial of the existence of absolute right and wrong in human behavior look on Western Civilization as a 1500 year-old monument to the contrary built with rocks hewn from the quarries of epistemological realism and absolute moral standards. If a new world-order built out of the stones of relativism and individualism were to be built, it was imperative to deny the value of the ancient order.
And so began the criticisms with which we are all familiar. Sociologists and historians pointed out the atrocities of colonialism in Africa and Asia as tell-tale signs that something was rotten in the very core of “old Narnia”; philosophers starting with the premise that all cultures are equal in value denied the truth about human reason as explained by the greatest philosophers of antiquity, Plato and Aristotle; university dons condemned the exportation of ‘western’ ideas as cultural imperialism.
This twenty-four hour bombardment has left Western Civilization in rubble in the minds of the masses. It has become “common sense” that all cultures are equal: it is now a secular “sin” to dare to assert Western Civilization is greater. Catholics have distanced themselves from the role the Church had played in the building of the West – if they were even aware of it in the first place. They accept the reasoning of relativism and draw a “lesson” for the Church: it should accept the destruction of Western Civilization because all cultures are of equal value for the embodiment of the Catholic Faith and theology. Catholic theology –some theologians assert- must abandon its dogmatic formulas based on obsolete Greek philosophy: semi-indiscriminate multi-culturalism is the way forward towards a new Church and a new culture-complex.
All of these criticisms fail to make some important distinctions.
Firstly the historians do not distinguish in the edifice of Western Civilization between its structure and its cracks, leaks and faulty plumbing. If we were to do with every house that has faulty plumbing what the intelligentsia have done with the ancient civilization most people would be living in tents!
Nor do they distinguish between the building and the tenants of the building, some of whom were worthy occupants and some of whom were neighborhood hooligans.
Of course supporters of Western Civilization will agree that atrocities and errors are part of her history but they add that they are not due to the core values of Western Civilization but to fallen human nature – and in that respect Western Civilization has no monopoly on either error or evil.
Finally they do not distinguish between Western Civilization and Post-Western civilization. Colonialism in Africa and Asia were not fruits of Western Civilization: by the 1700s the old West was dying and was no longer given much respect by its tenants and by the 19th century the economic colonialists who greedily plundered the Third World were “post-Western” in mentality.
By the mid-1900s the Old West was dead and she bears no responsibility for the contemporary cultural imperialists who savagely impose population control on the poor of the world through economic blackmail and media imperialism.
It is somewhat daunting to argue with some critics of Western Civilization because their closed mindedness is due to an intellectual sickness: an immunity to truth through invaccination with relativism which is simply old skepticism re-heated for modern minds.
Because of it man is vulnerable to all the viruses of falsity; he willingly “loses” his ability to distinguish truth and error in the great questions about life’s meaning and eternal salvation. To a thinker who has willingly acquired an immunity to truth what can one say?